By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- When you think about Belgium, beer, more than 800 different brews, in fact, and chocolates, with some 220,000 tons produced each year, probably come to mind.
But the tiny country also has 78 golf courses -- and this week can lay claim to its first Ryder Cupper in Nicolas Colsaerts.
And in reality, the 29-year-old may be the most international member of the European Team since he comes from a country where people speak three different languages -- Dutch, French and German -- and are often fluent in English, as well.
"I've traveled the world since I was 15, so I was always, in a way, mixed up with a lot of different nationalities, because I traveled on my own and I had to find people to talk with," Colsaerts said. "It's pretty easy for me to get along with a lot of different personalities, different nationalities, and different sense of humor."
Colsaerts, who lives in Brussels, says Belgium is so small "it's almost like everybody knows each other" and news of his Captain's Pick was well-received back home. He won his second European Tour event earlier this year and posted his best PGA TOUR finishes, too, in ties for seventh at the British Open and Wyndham Championship.
Colsaerts, who turned pro at the age of 18, comes from an athletic family. His great-grandfather represented Belgium in basketball and water polo at the 1920 Olympics and his father played field hockey for 25 years.
"So it was obvious that I was always going to do something in sports," Colsaerts said. "I remember the first Ryder Cup I watched, I was nine years old. I was watching Kiawah, and even though I was nine, you know, I felt that it was a pretty big thing. And only growing up after, I realized that I wanted to be part of it."
And his idol? Well, that would be U.S. assistant captain Fred Couples.
"Freddie just always seemed to be a cool cat, and the way he walks and the way he played -- I always loved the laziness about him," Colsaerts said. "Funny enough, I think I walk kind of the same way. But yeah, Fred Couples was the only guy I really looked up to when I was young, yeah."